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Could Olympics be in Nevins' future?

Former USF ace Sara Nevins again will represent her country this summer on the USA Softball Women's National Team.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

Former USF ace Sara Nevins again will represent her country this summer on the USA Softball Women's National Team.

23

June

Arguably no appendage in USF sports history has been more priceless than Sara Nevins' left arm.

It has collected wins by the hundreds and strikeouts by the thousands. It has occupied a World Series circle and collected more records than a disco-era DJ. If and when the USF Athletics Hall of Fame gets up and running again, Nevins is a first-ballot lock.

Which is to say, she's off to a nice start.

"College is the minor leagues, in all honesty, when it comes to softball," Bulls coach Ken Eriksen said Monday.

But the big leagues have beckoned again. On Sunday, Nevins, 22, learned she has made the USA Softball Women's National Team for a second consecutive season. The 17-player squad, coached by Eriksen, will compete in four different countries this summer, culminating with the ISF Women's World Championship in the Netherlands in August.

If she continues developing her repertoire at the world's highest level, and if politics don't infringe upon softball returning to the Olympic docket, Nevins has a shot at representing her country in 2020 in Tokyo.

"Coach Ken always says that the prime time for Olympic athletes is between like, 28 and 32 or 34, so I'll be up there," said Nevins, who logged more than 30 innings for the U.S. in international play last summer. "It's in what, six years? ... I hope to keep playing and I'm pretty sure (softball) will be back in 2020."

Eriksen shares the optimism, saying softball has an approval rating of "better than 60 percent" within the International Olympic Committee, which votes on whether to re-instill the sport in December. Combine that with the immense popularity of softball and baseball in Tokyo, and the planets seem to be aligning for a sport that hasn't been played in the Olympics since 2008.

"Six years from now, (Nevins) will be 28 years old, right in her prime-time stuff," Eriksen said.

Some might suggest she's already there. During recent team exhibitions and workouts, Eriksen said some players appeared mesmerized by Nevins' velocity, which accounted for 101 career wins and 1,103 strikeouts -- both school records -- at USF.

In the 2013 World Cup, she fanned 14 in 12.1 innings for the silver-medal-winning U.S., which finished second to Japan.

"First, you've got to play on the team and wear the three letters across your chest just to get comfortable," Eriksen said. "Then you have a chance to get good, then you have a chance to get really, really good.

"Right now Sara has a chance to get good in international ball. She proved last year, getting her feet wet against Japan, Australia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Canada, she did very, very well."

[Last modified: Monday, June 23, 2014 3:19pm]

    

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